I didn’t realize that it was possible to get the stomach flu twice in less than two weeks. Apparently so, even on top of a terrible cold. I’m very grateful for all of the kind wishes you sent and am happy to report that we’re tentatively able to venture out in the world once more. I’m posting a review for The Mystery of Mercy Close now, will post another one for the Juliet Stories next week.
The Mystery of Mercy Close, Marian Keyes
Penguin, 505 pages
Helen Walsh doesn’t like children or animals. She always speaks her mind. Brash, caustic, and fiercely independent, she does whatever she wants to, whenever she feels like it. In her teens and twenties, these qualities worked well for her; she was edgy, surprising, and fun to be around. But age hasn’t mellowed Helen, and in her thirties, what once was charmingly unpredictable is now maddeningly unemployable. Helen thought she found a solution when she trained as a private investigator, but her phone stopped ringing when the recession hit Ireland. All of a sudden, wives were thinking very carefully before jeopardizing their financial security over their husbands’ dalliances.
Her apartment repossessed, finances in a shambles, and love life complicated by her boyfriend’s lingering ex-wife, Helen knows her depression is returning when she thinks she sees vultures circling the gas station. Last time, she tried medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, yoga, self-help books, counselling, and even a stay in a psychiatric hospital. Nothing worked, at least not permanently. This time, the depression has resurfaced just when she needs to concentrate on paying her debts. So when an ex-boyfriend in the entertainment industry hires her to find the missing member of a has-been boy band right before their big reunion tour, Helen accepts.
The Mystery of Mercy Close tells Helen’s story as she attempts to manage her illness, sort out her love life, and find the elusive Wayne Diffney. The novel offers the reader an insightful, compassionate, and utterly sincere account of the experience of depression, which the author herself has struggled with personally. Filled with warmth and humour, this story will appeal to readers enjoy the writing of Lisa Genova, Anna Quindlen and Maeve Binchy.